Welcome to Ham Radio's Daily Satirical Newsletter since 1990

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This might explain why public education is failing today.....

THURSDAY EDITION: Lunch at HRO today in Salem, NH....Cracks in Earth's magnetic field but do not panic.....Everything you wanted to now about the coronavirus....Today's asshat from Florida tried to microwave a whole package of Oreo's, why?......How long does it take to get to the moon?....Are ham clubs dying?.....Not so sure I would want to date here....

Coronavirus Outbreak Postpones Swains Island W8S DXpedition

The W8S DXpedition to Swains Island in the Pacific, set to take place in mid-March, has been postponed until fall as a result of travel restrictions imposed on individuals entering American Samoa, stemming from the recent coronavirus outbreak. The Department of Health allows non-residents to enter American Samoa only via Hawaii after a 14-day mandatory quarantine in Hawaii, and the DXpedition was unable to accommodate that requirement.

“Everything is prepared for our DXpedition, and we are eager to go, but unfortunately the coronavirus outbreak is out of our control,” the DXpedition team said in announcing the delay. “Although this is a disappointment for everyone, the W8S DXpedition is not cancelled, but just postponed for later this year.”

The DXpedition said it would alert the DX community as soon as it has new firm dates for the trip. 

These are pix of the monument atop Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. I took the photos during one of our trips  to replace the flag that was regularly destroyed by the wind up there. Bob W1GWU

National society acts over Smart Meter interference

IARU Region 2 reports in Saint Kitts amateur radio operators are still battling with the RF Interference, noise and frequency jamming caused by the smart meters of the electric company

The Saint Kitts Nevis Anguilla Amateur Radio Society (SKNAARS) took the RF interference complaint to the telecommunications regulator NTRC who issued a “cease and desist” order to the electric company, effective October 7, 2019. Today makes four months since that order was issued, and a number of stations are still experiencing RF interference and noise on 40-meter and 80-meter radio frequencies.

The SKNAARS new executive will be meeting with the NTRC in the next few weeks to discuss this RF noise issue and other outstanding matters. SKNAARS wishes to thank IARU for its assistance in helping to resolve this RF interference matter affecting the amateur radio fraternity in Saint Kitts. The island of Nevis does not have a smart meter system.

Read the full story at

Historic TV news report on ham radio rally

On April 9, 1990 TV station RTE broadcast a news item about the Lough Erne Radio Rally in Northern Ireland  

The description reads:

A rally like this is a chance to put faces to names and to radio call signs.

600 amateur radio enthusiasts from all over Ireland have gathered in Enniskillen, county Fermanagh for the ninth annual Lough Erne Radio Rally.

The rally is an opportunity for many to put faces to names and radio call signs. Here ‘ham radio’ radio enthusiasts can swap stories and experiences. The event also offers the chance to buy radio equipment that is not normally available in the shops.

Reporter Andrew Kelly meets enthusiasts Alec McKeown GI1RBI, Phil Cantwell EI9P and Joe Maguire GI4NRE who share their experiences of using radio to contact people throughout the world.

Watch the video at

Spy radio found during archaeological dig

A 30-year-old Soviet spy radio has been found by archaeologists in a site cleared for a new lignite mine about 30 km west of Köln in Germany

Live Science reports:

The spy radio was buried inside a large metal box that was hermetically sealed with a rubber ring and metal screws. Although the radio's batteries had run down after almost 30 years in the ground, the box hissed with inrushing air when it was opened.

The radio has been identified as a model R-394KM transmitter and receiver — code-named "Strizh," meaning "Swift" — that was manufactured in the Soviet Union in 1987. It was carried by agents into Western Europe shortly after that, and only a few years before the fall between 1989 and 1991 of the "Iron Curtain" of communism that divided Eastern and Western Europe.

The high-frequency or shortwave radio was capable of transmitting and receiving messages as far as 1,200 km — far enough to reach Warsaw in Poland, which was then part of the Soviet bloc.

Read the full story at

Upcoming AMSAT Events

Want to see AMSAT in action or learn more about amateur radio in space?

AMSAT Ambassadors provide presentations, demonstrate communicating through amateur satellites, and host information tables at club meetings, hamfests, conventions, maker faires, and other events.

Current schedule:

+ March 6, 2020, Irving Hamfest, Irving, TX March 14-15, 2020, Science
+ City on University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ March 21, 2020, Midwinter
+ Madness Hamfest, Buffalo, MN March 21, 2020, Scottsdale Amateur Radio
+ Club Hamfest, Scottsdale, AZ
+ March 28, 2020, Tucson Spring Hamfest, Tucson, AZ March 29, 2020,
+ Vienna Wireless Winterfest, Annandale, VA May 2, 2020, Cochise Amateur
+ Radio Association Hamfest, Sierra Vista, AZ
+ May 8-9, 2020 Prescott Hamfest, Prescott, AZ May 15-17, Hamvention,
+ Xenia, OH June 12-13, 2020, Ham-Con, Plano, TX

A copy of the AMSAT hamfest brochure is available for download at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-026-Hamfest

This color brochure is designed to be printed double

WEDNESDAY EDITION: Cold and overcast on the island this morning but I will take it over snow...

Iwo Jima: The Marines hit the beach today in 1944, staggering loss of life for their country.

Operation Detachment, the U.S. Marines’ invasion of Iwo Jima, is launched. Iwo Jima was a barren Pacific island guarded by Japanese artillery, but to American military minds, it was prime real estate on which to build airfields to launch bombing raids against Japan, only 660 miles away.

The Americans began applying pressure to the Japanese defense of the island in February 1944, when B-24 and B-25 bombers raided the island for 74 days. It was the longest pre-invasion bombardment of the war, necessary because of the extent to which the Japanese–21,000 strong–fortified the island, above and below ground, including a network of caves. Underwater demolition teams (“frogmen”) were dispatched by the Americans just before the actual invasion. When the Japanese fired on the frogmen, they gave away many of their “secret” gun positions.

The amphibious landings of Marines began the morning of February 19 as the secretary of the navy, James Forrestal, accompanied by journalists, surveyed the scene from a command ship offshore. As the Marines made their way onto the island, seven Japanese battalions opened fire on them. By evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded. The capture of Mount Suribachi, the highest point of the island and bastion of the Japanese defense, took four more days and many more casualties. When the American flag was finally raised on Iwo Jima, the memorable image was captured in a famous photograph that later won the Pulitzer Prize.

VP8PJ South Orkney Team En Route to Signy Island

The MV Braveheart is at sea again, this time transporting the VP8PJ South Orkney DXpedition team to Signy Island. Track the vessel’s progress on the VP8PJ website. The Perseverance DX Group is sponsoring the DXpedition. Team members have been operating as ZL1NA/mm during their voyage, generating heavy pileups.

VP8PJ is expected to commence operation on February 21 and continue until March 5. Operation will be on CW, SSB, RTTY, and FT8 (always fox/hound mode except on 60 meters). Stations in Africa and Oceania may call at any time, regardless of operators’ directional instructions.

The VP8PJ DXpedition is the recipient of an ARRL Colvin Award grant, funded by an endowment established by Lloyd D. Colvin, W6KG (SK). Heading the 14-member DXpedition team are Dave Lloyd, K3EL, and Les Kalmus, W2LK. 

South Orkney Islands is the 16th most-wanted DXCC entity, according to Club Log.

The DXpedition offers several tips to help operators to work VP8PJ. These note, among other things, that the team will not have email access, nor do the DXpedition pilots have access to the logs. The DXpedition team advises that operators wait until propagation and conditions favor their location. VP8PJ will always operate split, and the operator will indicate where he is listening, such as “up 5” or “listening on 7155.” Be patient, use common phonetics on SSB, and listen for your call sign when VP8PJ comes back. Also, heed the operators’ instructions, such as “EU only” or “QRP only.” Resist making “insurance QSOs,” only working the DXpedition again if a log check shows that you are not in the log. Log check will not be available until shortly after the DXpedition begins operation. Whenever possible, VP8PJ operators will try to listen in the General-class portions of the bands.

QSL via OQRS for direct or bureau, or direct via QSL Manager Tim Beaumont, M0URX; log search will also be available.

Down Under Special Event Will Use Former Radio Australia Antennas

Over the March 14 – 15 weekend, members of the Shepparton and District Amateur Radio Club (SADARC) in Australia will be on the air as VI3RA (Radio Australia), connecting their transceivers to the curtain array and rhombic antennas at the former Radio Australia site in Shepparton. Radio Australia ceased transmitting from the site in 2017. VI3RA will operate on 40, 30, 20, 17, and 15 meters.

“Local amateurs will be given the unique opportunity to explore the use of high-gain antennas whilst giving amateurs throughout the world a unique opportunity to contact a station using such high-gain antennas,” said SADARC President Peter Rentsch, VK3FPSR (Australia’s call sign structure accommodates four-letter suffixes). “This is a rare opportunity for amateur radio operators, who are only allowed a peak output power of 400 W in Australia when compared to 100 kW of Radio Australia transmitters to hopefully achieve some remarkable communication outcomes. We expect to get a gain of 15 dB on the lower frequencies and at least 20 dB on 21 MHz.”

The special event is being conducted in cooperation with BAI Communications (Broadcast Australia). More information is on the club’s website.

AMSAT Declares End of Mission for Pioneer AO-85 CubeSat

AMSAT reports that the pioneering AMSAT-OSCAR 85 (AO-85) CubeSat, also known as Fox-1A, has gone silent.

“Having not been heard throughout the most recent period of full illumination, it is reasonable to believe the batteries have deteriorated to the point of no longer being able to power the transmitter,” AMSAT said this week. “Should some future event cause a cell to open, it is possible the satellite may be heard again, but for now, it is time to declare end-of-mission.

AO-85 was conceived as the first AMSAT CubeSat and designed to be a successor to the popular AO-51 Microsat. AO-85 was launched on October 8, 2015. Its success led to further Fox satellites AO-91, AO-92, AO-95, and RadFxSat2 / Fox-1E, which will be launched later this year.

The Fox-1E transponder was also spun off into a radio system now in orbit on board HuskySat-1, and soon to be in several other university CubeSats. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service

British radio antenna arrives at space station

The UK's first industrial contribution to the International Space Station (ISS) was delivered on Tuesday.

The communications antenna is part of a consignment of supplies that arrived on a Cygnus freighter.

Made by MDA UK, the Columbus Ka-band (COLKa) Terminal will enable astronauts to connect with scientists and family on Earth at home broadband speeds.

The equipment will be fixed to the exterior of Europe's ISS science module in a few weeks' time. This should improve substantially on current arrangements for radio links.

"At the moment, the communications from Columbus go through the American data relay satellites, but those satellites are prioritised for US use. This gives Europe some independence," David Kenyon, the managing director of Oxfordshire-based MDA UK, told BBC News.


QARMAN and Phoenix CubeSat deployment from ISS

Sarah Rogers KI7OOY reports that following the successful launch of NG-13 on Feb 15, the upcoming CubeSat deployment from the ISS is now scheduled for Wednesday, February 19

This deployment times and frequencies for the CubeSats being deployed on this date are listed in the table below.

As a member of the Phoenix CubeSat team, it would help us greatly to have as much help as possible with tracking our spacecraft following deployment!

For more information on Phoenix's transceiver characteristics and how you can decode packets from our spacecraft, please see our operations page:

If you have any questions regarding deployment or tracking Phoenix, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

CubeSat Downlink (MHz)   Uplink (MHz)   Deployment Time (UTC)
RadSat-u 437.425  437.425  7:10
*Phoenix* *437.35*   *437.35*   *9:35*
QARMAN 437.35  437.35   11:20
CryoCube 2261 2082.004   12:55
AztechSat-1 437.3   437.3   12:55
SOCRATES 914.7   914.7   14:30
Argus-02 437.29   437.29   16:00
HARP 468 450   16:00
SORTIE 468 450   17:40

Sarah Rogers KI7OOY
Project Manager, Phoenix CubeSat

Students allowed to use amateur radio

Austrian national amateur radio society ÖVSV reports the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology granted Martin Rafenstein OE3RQA an exception to enable students to use amateur radio  

A translation of the ÖVSV post reads:

Under supervision and guidance of experienced radio amateurs, pupils of the fourth year of the higher technical college for electronics and technical informatics of the Technological Museum of Technology (TGM) Vienna XX were able to gain their first experience in the field of amateur radio on Friday, January 17th, 2020.

For this purpose, the teachers had invited a guest lecturer from the Austrian Experimental Broadcasting Association, Martin Rafenstein (OE3RQA).

In addition to his experience and expertise, he also brought a lot of amateur radio devices with him as illustrative material.

After a general introduction to the topic, the students were then shown and demonstrated selected amateur radio components (radio devices, antennas, cables, measuring devices). With the simplest of means, a short-wave antenna (homemade) (so-called "Bazooka") was then hung up in the laboratory to give the students a clearer understanding of the experimental character of this hobby.

The highlight of this afternoon, however, was undoubtedly that, in the course of a certificate of exemption granted by the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology - so-called "speech freedom" - under the amateur radio call OE20TGM that had been set up especially for this afternoon, pupils were even able to talk to any amateur radio operator.

Under the supervision of the authorized persons, extremely nice radio conversations with several radio amateurs from Vienna and Lower Austria came about.

Some of the remote stations were themselves graduates of the TGM and were pleased about the direct conversation with technically interested young people who came into contact with the medium of amateur radio for the first time.

The event ended with a demonstration of voice and data connections between the Internet and amateur radio.

Here the students got an impression that the classic, traditional "analog" radio world has long since grown together with the digital world that you seem more familiar with.

Source OeVSV

TUESDAY EDITION: You never know who will check in to 3928 afternoons, but I never expected a card carrying, official number bearing Friendly Bunch cult member would actually check in with us yesterday. He drank the Kool-Aid and got sucked in 100%. I guess he hasn't noticed that the self proclaimed "fastest growing group in ham radio" is bailing out in large numbers to 3843 where everyone is number #1 and no one is butting in all night long commanding you to ID.........The scout leaders couldnt keep their zippers shut and file bankruptcy...oh no, a tattoo in morse code spelled wrong.....Mysterious singals from outer space....

Youngsters On The Air (YOTA) in Thailand

The 1st YOTA event in IARU Region 3 (Asia/Pacific) will take place in Rayong, Thailand on October 1-3, 2020

The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand under the Patronage of His Majesty the King (RAST) will be hosting the IARU Region 3 Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) Camp in Rayong Province on the southeastern coast of Thailand from October 1-3 this year.

This was agreed in September 2019 by the IARU Region 3 Chairman Wisnu Widjaja, YB0AZ, and IARU Region 3 directors which include RAST President Jakkree Hantongkom, HS1FVL.

YOTA is a rapidly growing group of young radio amateurs which has the goal of getting more young people interested in amateur radio and in growing the amateur radio community. Every year many youngsters meet up in a different IARU Region 3 country for the exchange of ideas and experiences.

This year the event will be held at the Rock Garden Beach Resort in Rayong.

Full details about the IARU Region 3 YOTA can be found at

LED street lights raise RF pollution fears

ABC TV News report on fears in Toledo, Ohio, that the installation new LED street lights will generate considerable RF pollution and interference

"The Universe is full of noise," Mike Kehr WA8SYD, an instructor for amateur radio licensing, said. "When you turn the radio on and hear that it has sound and there's no signal there, that's the noise of the universe."

The noise that the amateur radio community is concerned about is LED lights.

Kehr says the lights make a lot of electrical radio noise and, "that noise can rise to the level of actual interference."

Watch the TV news report at

Radio ham saved historic BBC OB van

Daily Echo newspaper reports radio amateur Brian Summers G8GQS saved one of the BBC's historic outside broadcast units, MCR21, from the scrap heap 

The newspaper says:

MCR21 - its serial number – was one of the first custom built outside broadcast vehicles originally designed for black and white television.

From 1963 it relayed to mass TV audiences many prestigious events ranging from Winston Churchill's funeral to England's World Cup victory.

It was later converted to colour before being scrapped by the BBC in 1979 and this proud chapter of broadcasting history was nearly lost to the nation until radio amateur enthusiast Brian Summers stepped in and bought the vehicle which was in danger of rusting away.

Read the Daily Echo article at  

You can watch a @BATCOnline video about the MCR21 project at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F139wIH2sFs

What do you do if modern communications go down? Phones, computers? No calling, texting, emailing?

The astronauts on the International Space Station know. And so do the students in Jody Carter’s amateur radio class, the Rambler Radio Club, at LaFayette Middle School. It’ called ham radio (aka, amateur radio).

“Electronic communications,” says Carter, “depend on a massive infrastructure. When one part fails, the whole thing can go down.

“Ham radio depends only on antennas and two people communicating,” Carter says. “The radio spectrum includes millions of frequencies. Messages can be relayed from one person to another to another.”

It doesn’t have to be a case of communications actually failing. Carter gives an example from the 2011 tornadoes that swept through our area. High winds, he says, took down multiple trees on both sides of a 1.25 mile stretch of road in Walker County.

It took emergency workers and volunteers 36 hours to clear enough debris to get a vehicle through. In the meantime, there just happened to be a ham radio operator at each end of the road. They were able to communicate with one another as each made his way toward the middle, stopping at every house to check on people.

What neither they nor the people living on the stretch of road could do is get through to 911 because there was a backlog of 300 calls on hold.

“If our emergency ham network,” says Carter, “could have easily notified authorities that everyone was OK, the dozens of workers spending all that time clearing the road could have been helping where it was more needed.”

A good example of ham radio helping in an emergency situation was when more than 1,000 amateur radio operators came to the rescue during Hurricane Katrina.

Many countries with remote villages employ ham radio for communications.

Not one to just talk about it, Carter is now emergency coordinator of amateur radio services in Walker County, as well as a leader with the Walker County Community Emergency Response Team.

A ham radio is maintained on the international space station, 230 miles above the earth. Not only is it a good emergency backup, people on earth can communicate with the astronauts.

That’s what the Rambler Radio Club students did in 2012. They planned the exchange in advance. They invited younger students from Naomi, North LaFayette, Gilbert and Rock Spring Elementary schools to come up with 20 questions to ask the astronauts.

The questions were submitted to NASA so the astronauts could be prepared. There was equipment to borrow, especially a high-powered antenna that had to be secured on top of the school.

Ham radio enthusiast and friend of Carter, Dave Mayo, says, “In order to make contact with an orbiting satellite like the space station requires a highly directional antenna that is capable of moving in the azimuth plane (horizontal) as well as elevation (vertical).

“So we had to borrow such an antenna, which is fairly large and has a lot of wiring required for the rotors, as well as for the transmission line, and mount it on the roof of the auditorium,” Mayo says. “Being rather large and tall we had to weigh down the tripod base with five gallon buckets filled with water so that it wouldn’t topple over. Even that did not quite seem to fully stabilize it so we also added some Dacron ropes to guy it.”

In spite of all that, Mayo says the antenna got tangled in a guy rope.

“Fortunately,” he says, “we had a guy stationed on the roof who cut the rope before it could cause any damage or problems.”

Carter and his students and most of the school’s student body gathered in the gymnasium of their school on Sept. 21, 2012, prepared for a conversation with the space station. The experience took Carter back to his childhood when he was late for school one day because his father was trying to contact the Space Shuttle by way of ham radio.

LMS had received a grant for the project. They were one of 18 schools in the world, four schools in the United States, to get to contact ARISS — Amateur Radio on the International Space Station — in 2012.

The connection was scratchy but understandable. Some questions the students asked included: What time zone does the space station use? What fuels does the station use? How does life on earth differ from life in space? How do you exercise in space?

When all was said and done, Carter told students that in the 10 minutes they had been talking to the astronauts, the space station had moved out of range. He said the station travels from Dallas, Texas, to Paris, France, in a mere 17 minutes.

Amateur radio has an annual contest called Round Up. Students work to make as many contacts with other ham radio operators as possible. Carter says his students are so enthusiastic about the contest they’ll spend their lunch hour and many more hours a day pursuing contacts from all over the world.

As of October 2019, Rambler Radio Club members had contacted people in 37 U.S. states, in Tasmania, Germany, Italy, Morocco and many more places. They’ve contacted people on beaches, at home and on a ship passing through the Panama Canal.

By the end of one week of Round Up, Carter said, “I could not be prouder of our students who have set a new record of contacts for any week of School Club Roundup for Rambler Radio Club. These students are becoming more independent, confident and competent in their radio communication skills. And of all the 13 students on the air this week, 12 were female!”

Twelve were female last school year. This year it’s 16 of 18 students, a lot more than the 15% of amateur U.S. radio operators who are female.

MONDAY EDITION: President's Day, do you think I can find one kid who has any idea what the holiday means? ....Thursday is a lunch bunch meeting at HRO in Salem, NH, open to all......

Exclusive Photo of Mike- XW's new RC car and retirement gym in the backyard...

Why Marconi's genius was on a different wavelength

The Daily Gazette reports this June will mark exactly 100 years since the world’s first public broadcast took place in Chelmsford, Essex

The newspaper says:

It was June 15, 1920, when Australian opera star Dame Nellie Melba sung down a microphone at the Marconi works in New Street.

She belted out two arias in her famous trill. By the time of her second broadcast a few days later, the great diva’s warbles were being listened to across Britain, and as far away as New York.

Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi was used to being a leader in his field.

In December 1901 he had succeeded in sending the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, disproving detractors who told him that the curvature of the earth would limit transmission to 200 miles or less.

Read the full story at

Radio Acacia to broadcast interview of two Indian hams

Radio Acacia from Nottinghamshire, England is going to broadcast an nterview of two Indian Hams VU2EXP Rajesh Vagadia and VU3WHG Shyama Vagadia for sharing their valuable experience on Amateur Radio Emergency Communication service extended during VAYU Cyclone (June 2019) at coast of Porbandar (Gujarat) India.

Shyama Vagadia VU3WHG

Numbers of aspects like Cyclone info, Emergency Communication Preparedness, Teamwork, Radio Operations, Reporting, Supporters credit, Coordination with Radio clubs/organisation & govt Department, etc are covered in details.

VU2EXP remain active Ham from Rajkot  engaged in ham radio promotional activities. Whereas YL Shyama VU3WHG is just student of 10th grade (Saint Paul School Rajkot) and remain youngest female Ham of State of Gujarat!

Interview is scheduled to broadcast on coming Tuesday 18th Feb 2020 at 1930 IST (1400 GMT) and will repeat on Thursday 20th Feb 2020 at 1930 IST (1400 GMT). Interview on Acacia Radio is part of  Backtracks programme, presented by Brian Ford.

Kindly spare time & listen our Interview on 'Radio Acacia' (UK) at 1287 AM or via live streaming over Internet Radio as per schedule mentioned at following link:

TAPR PSR 144 now available

TAPR have made issue 144 of their newsletter PSR available for download

TAPR is a community that provides leadership and resources to radio amateurs for the purpose of advancing the radio art.

The Winter 2020 issue of TAPR Packet Status Register (PSR #144) contains:
-President's Corner 
-TAPR.ORG – The Next Generation
-TAPR Members to Attend 2020 HamSCI Workshop
-On the Air with YT7MPB
-Donate to TAPR
-DCC Wrap-Up
-AX.25 + FEC = FX.25 TAPR Wear Available
-Automatic Tuner for Small Magnetic Loop Antennas
-On the Net  The Fine Print
-Our Membership App

Download PSR 144 from

The PSR editor is now accepting contributions for the next issue of PSR.
April 1, 2020, is the deadline for submissions; send what you have to
wa1lou <AT> tapr.org

TAPR https://tapr.org/

FCC invites comments on 5.9 GHz proceeding

The FCC has invited comments on a Notice of Proposed Rule Making

(NPRM) in WT Docket 19-138, which said the FCC would take ''a fresh and comprehensive look'' at the rules for the 5.9 GHz band. The FCC proposes to make 5.850 - 5.895 GHz available for unlicensed operations and to authorize transportation-related communication technologies to use 5.895 - 5.925 GHz.

WT Docket 19-138 files can be found online in PDF format at,
https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filing/1217200308588 .

The FCC is not proposing to delete or otherwise amend the 5-centimeter secondary amateur radio allocation at 5.650 - 5.925 GHz, part of which includes the 75 Megahertz under consideration.

Comments are due by March 6, and reply comments are due by April 6.

ARRL will be filing comments supporting no change to 5.850 - 5.925 GHz for amateurs, as included in the FCC proposal.

LATE WEEKEND EDITION: I have not had a chance to get the weekend edition out on time, I went to a local hamfest in Marlboro for a change of pace. I had the pleasure of setting up with Joe- K1JEK of Cobra Antenna and I sold a few items and talked to a few hams, a nice time was had by all and a strong turnout for sure.....I don't have to tell you the ARRL is closed on President's Day, they take every holiday off.....What's wrong with education today?.....

Foundations of Amateur Radio

Exploring an understanding of filters and circuits.

Every person is the product of their environment. Unsurprisingly this is even true for radio amateurs. That's not to say that we can't break our mould, but it takes effort. I grew up around technology in the 1980's. As a result I'm familiar with 8-bit microprocessors like the Motorola 6502 which featured heavily at the time. I tend to think in terms of the presence or absence of a signal, rather than the intricacies of circuits and components.

As a child of my time, I'm not particularly familiar with the punch card or paper tape, or core memory, or valves, 386 machine code or what's in an FPGA. As a direct result of my age, my knowledge and understanding of circuits is sparse at best. I understand basic components like resisters and capacitors in a DC setting, Ohms Law and the fun you can have with a battery, a few resistors, diodes and an LED light.

As a radio amateur I've been introduced to how some things work differently in an AC circuit, like an antenna and a feed-line.

Until very recently my knowledge about filters was based on what I'd read. I know that there is fun to be had with coax and stubs and other cute things, but how and why they work eluded me. Today I'm a step closer.

Before I dig in and share some of what I've learnt, let's have a quick look at what a filter is and does. You'll have likely heard of high-pass and low-pass filters. You might have heard of band-pass and band-stop filters.

If you think of a high-pass filter as a device that lets through high frequencies and a low-pass filter as a device that lets through low frequencies, we're already well on our way. If you put a high-pass filter together with a low-pass filter, you end up with a range of frequencies that doesn't pass, known as a band-stop filter.

Similarly, if you tweak the frequencies that pass just so, you can combine a high-pass and a low-pass filter to make a band-pass filter.

Let me illustrate.

Imagine a 15m band-pass filter. It allows all frequencies in the 15m amateur band through, but blocks everything else. You could construct such a thing from a high-pass filter that allows 15m and above through combined with a low-pass filter that allows 15m and below through. Everything below 15m is stopped by the high-pass filter and everything above 15m is stopped by the low-pass filter. The gap between the overlap of the high-pass and low-pass filters is what creates a space where the 15m band gets through.

If you move things around a little, the same can be constructed to make a 15m band-stop filter. Something that lets anything through, except a 15m amateur signal. To make such a gadget would require a low-pass filter that allows everything below 15m combined with a high-pass filter that lets everything above 15m through.

So, if you can construct a high-pass filter and a low-pass filter, you can pretty much create any combination and allow or stop specific frequency ranges.

If you're wondering why this might be useful, think about a contest. Two radios in the same shack. One transmitting on 15m and one on 40m. These two bands, one at 21 MHz and one at 7 MHz are third harmonics to each other. This means essentially that a radio on 40m affects one on 15m and vice-versa. If you had a set of filters that stopped 15m and passed 40m on one transceiver and a set of filters that stopped 40m and passed 15m on the other, both of you would be much happier.

You don't need to do contesting to benefit from a filter. If you use an RTL-SDR dongle, it's affected by nearby strong signals, like say a local radio or television station. That's fine if that's what you're trying to hear, but not so much if you're trying to hear something else. Filters can help to make your life better.

Now, to round this off at a suitable point, you can think of an inductor as device that lets low frequencies through but blocks high frequencies. Similarly, a capacitor is a device that blocks low frequencies but lets high frequencies through. So, it's fair to think of an inductor as a low-pass filter and a capacitor as a high-pass filter. The symbol for a capacitor is the letter C (Charlie) and for an inductor it's the letter L (Lima).

You could make a circuit that either directly blocks from a certain frequency, or one that lets it through, but sends it to ground. This gives you two designs for a low pass filter one using an inductor or an RL circuit and one using a capacitor or an RC circuit. Similarly you can create a high-pass filter using either an inductor or a capacitor. That gives you four designs for two filters.

Each of these can be combined to create band-pass and band-stop filters.

The maths behind it isn't particularly daunting with basic high-school maths and if you want to see it happen before your eyes, check out the "Organic Chemistry Tutor" on YouTube. The play list you're looking for is cleverly disguised as "Electronic Circuits".

As a direct result, I started hunting for breadboards, but it turns out that you can simulate these circuits online using any number of simulators. Of course there's going to be a gap between simulation and reality, but that's when you get out your soldering iron.

Remember, if you smell chicken, you're holding it wrong.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB

UK 5 MHz beacon to close

It has been announced that the 5 MHz (60m) beacon GB3WES at Westmorland IO84qn on 5.290 MHz will close down on March 11, 2020, when its Notice of Variation (NoV) expires

The beacon entered service on October 30, 2004. At the time it was one of a chain of three UK 5 MHz propagation research beacons, the others being GB3RAL in Oxfordshire and GB3ORK in Orkney

After GB3WES closes only GB3ORK will remain.

Source GB3WES site

AmateurLogic 140: New Stuff & Old Stuff

George, Tommy and Wayne make nice finds at the Capital City Hamfest. Krewe of Eve Mardi Gras Ball and a tasty treat. Icom IC-705 Quick Preview. New portable QRP antennas. Plus lots more.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2207 for Friday February 14th 2020


PAUL/ANCHOR: We begin this week with a story about wireless safety. The FCC requires all wireless devices sold in the U.S., including ham radio equipment, to demonstrate that even at maximum power, their RF exposure is below the minimum allowable level of Specific Absorption Rate or SAR, for safety. A recent test of mobile phones' RF levels, however, has raised doubts about the testing process itself. Kent Peterson KC0DGY has that story.

KENT: In an investigation conducted last year by RF Exposure Labs for the Chicago Tribune newspaper, a number of phones from Apple, Samsung, and Motorola were discovered to exceed the the FCC's SAR limit. A subsequent investigation done by the FCC, however, failed to corroberate those findings. The lab used phones purchased from retailers; the FCC received its phones directly from the manufacturers themselves.

More recently, a test by the lab for Penumbra Brands - which sells mobile-phone protection devices - found an iPhone 11 Pro also exceeded the allowable levels. That test drew its conclusions based on the study of a single phone that had been purchased at retail.

The IEE Spectrum reported on these developments on its website on February 7th. None of the phones' manufacturers were reached for comment.

A University of California Berkeley researcher told the IEEE however that regardless of whose findings end up being valid, the real fix needs to be made at the FCC. Researcher Joel Moskowitz said the agency's testing for RF exposure needs to be made more comprehensive -- and brought into the 21st century.



PAUL/ANCHOR: With tropical cyclones and floods an ever-present threat in the Indian state of Odisha, amateur radio operators there have a special commitment to readiness. John Williams VK4JJW tells us what's on their agenda next.

JOHN: Chilika Lake Sea Mouth Island in Odisha is usually uninhabited but from the 14th to the 16th of February it will be occupied by a small group of amateur radio operators on a mission. The Amateur Radio Society of Odisha is conducting its second annual field day in a cyclone- and flooding-preparedness exercise. Using battery packs and solar panels and working in tents, the hams are calling QRZ on 40, 20 and 10 meters, simulating a post-disaster scenario. Gurudatta Panda VU3GDP told Newsline in an email that this kind of preparedness proved invaluable when Cyclone Fani struck in 2019. He said that coincidentally, the storm made landfall last spring near the field day location barely a month after the field day exercise had concluded.

The location is ideal for such an exercise, he said. It provides a noise-free environment along with the adventure of operating on the shore of one of the Asia's largest brackish water lakes where it meets the sea.

All contacts will receive QSL cards. For more details visit the society's website arso dot org dot in (arso.org.in)

For Amateur Radio Newsline I'm John Williams VK4JJW.

PAUL/ANCHOR: To see a video of last year's field day and get a look at the beauty of the activation site, see the printed version of this newscast on our website arnewsline.org, where we have added a link to the YouTube video.


PAUL/ANCHOR: Radio camp season is coming up fast - and in Thailand, preparations are under way. Jason Daniels VK2LAW has those details.

JASON: The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand is preparing to host a Youngsters On The Air camp in Rayong Province on Thailand's southeastern coast. The popular, fast-growing YOTA experience will be open to youth throughout the region from October 1st to the 3rd at the Rock Garden Beach in Rayong. Hosting the Region 3 camp is the latest effort by the Thai radio society to encourage young students to pursue their interest in ham radio.

RAST, which was selected as host during meetings last year, hopes to support young students' education and give them skills to prepare them for licence exams and to upgrade whatever licence they may have. The IARU's YOTA Region 3 website reaffirms its commitment to young hams saying: [quote] "Youngsters on the Air is a highly motivated group of people of all ages and from all over the world working together tightly to make sure that there will still be somebody to answer your CQ call in the future." [endquote]


PAUL/ANCHOR: Almost everyone loves the thrill of a good DX contact - and United States Marines are no different, as we hear from Dave Parks WB8ODF.

DAVE: Hams around the world will be happy to know that even members of the United States Marine Corps love a good DX contact. In late January, Marines at Base Camp Pendleton in California logged a successful contact some 6,000 miles away with radio operators at Camp Shwab in Okinawa, Japan. The hams in California were operating mobile from the mountains just outside the base camp, transmitting on HF using a field expedient antenna.

Corporal Shelton Needham, a field radio operator, praised the antenna for the value it brings to mobile operations. The Marines noted this was the first such long-distance radio call in many years for operators at Camp Pendleton and it gave them renewed confidence in this kind of communication if other modes, such as satellites, are attacked or otherwise taken offline.


PAUL/ANCHOR: Meanwhile, United States Marines elsewhere are learning HF operations from the ground up. Kevin Trotman N5PRE has that report.

KEVIN: At Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, United States Marines are getting some basic training of a different sort from the Brightleaf Amateur Radio Club in Greenville. The hams there are teaching the Marines the nuts-and-bolts of high-frequency radio operations in classes that include propagation theory, proper on-air operation procedures, frequency band allocation and antenna theory that covers both conventional and field-expedient antennas.

The classwork is part of a program called the High Frequency Auxiliary Initiative, which was created by Marine Corps. Col. Jordan Walzer, commanding officer of II MIG. The colonel is hoping the coursework provides additional options for Marines in a combat environment -- options that don't rely so much on space-based capabilities which he believes are more vulnerable to attacks from hackers and drones.

The classes, which were held on the Marines' military base in late January, were part of an overall ham radio licensing course. In a press release issued by the military, Walzer called ham radio [quote] "a reliable, low-cost alternative to satellite communications." [endquote]


PAUL/ANCHOR: We the members of the Amateur Radio Newsline Amateur Radio Club, have a special message for listeners. Speaking for all of us, here's Don Wilbanks AE5DW.

DON: The weekend of February 7th, 8th and 9th was very special for those of us at Amateur Radio Newsline. It was 5 years ago that Newsline founder Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF became a silent key. Not long after, the Newsline staff started kicking around the idea of a club station.

In 2019 the Amateur Radio Newsline Amateur Radio Club was formed and we knew that there was only one callsign that would do. WA6ITF. As Bill’s license was still current, it was with the help of his daughter, Kelly Lenhert, N6PNY that we got that call.

Friday, February 7th would have been Bill’s 78th birthday and that was the perfect occasion to reactivate WA6ITF and get that call back on the air where it belongs. I know I speak for the current and former Newsline staffers who were calling CQ during our little informal special event when I say it was a bit surreal and emotional to be able to use that call. Collectively we made hundreds of contacts on HF, VHF, UHF, D-Star, Allstar, DMR and Echolink. All to honor our dear friend and mentor Bill Pasternak.

Hearing the kind words from those who answered our calls was gratifying and uplifting. Many of the contacts were long time listeners or friends of Bill. Some had never heard of Newsline. For all, it was a time to reminisce about old times and to spread the word and continue what Bill started over 4 decades ago. We hope to make Bill’s Birthday Party an annual event. Thank you to all who took the time to chat and help us celebrate Bill’s life. For everyone here at Amateur Radio Newsline, we thank you. I’m Don Wilbanks, AE5DW.


PAUL/ANCHOR: Hams in the U.S. have only a few days left to submit comments and suggestions to the ARRL's HF Band Planning Committee. The panel presented its report on band allocations late last month to the league's board. The committee told the board it favors providing more space for the digital modes and for automatically-controlled digital stations as the popularity of both continues to surge. The recommendations also suggest ways CW and digital modes can coexist. The full report, which the panel hopes to present to the FCC, is available via "click-here" links on the league's webpage at arrl dot org slash bandplan (arrl.org/bandplan), where you will also find the feedback form. The ARRL has created an online HF band plan discussion group at groups dot arrl dot org (groups.arrl.org) Comments can be submitted until the 19th of February.



PAUL/ANCHOR: Newsline has followed the solo travels of Jeanne (pronounced: JAN) Socrates VE0JS (V-E-ZERO-J-S) before, but now the record-setting sailor is taking another trip - by motor home. Andrew Smelt VK5MAS has that story.

ANDREW: Solo sailor Jeanne (pronounced "JAN") Socrates VE0JS completed a solo unassisted circumnavigation of the world last year aboard the Nereida, becoming the oldest person to sail around the world alone, non-stop, and unassisted. She was 77 when she completed the voyage in 11 months, 4 months longer than she'd expected due to some extreme challenges. An earlier trip, in 2013, won Jeanne the honour of being the oldest woman to make the trip -- another record.

Boy has she got a story to tell. Jeanne has been very giving of her time to amateur radio operators and I was one of the lucky ones. She is now travelling around Australia for 4 months in a motor home where I'll be paying her forward and hosting Jeanne. She'll be departing Sydney mid-February enroute to Adelaide where she will be giving a presentation about her voyage at the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron at Outer Harbour.

We can't wait to hear it.


PAUL/ANCHOR: Hams in New Zealand went outdoors recently with some low-power gear and started off on a new adventure. Jim Meachen ZL2BHF tells us what happened next.

JIM M: A group of hams is hoping to build a big community by starting with a small back-country hut. That's the concept behind the Huts on the Air awards scheme taking shape in New Zealand. The programme, which began earlier this month, is still in its infancy, according to Matt Briggs ZL4NVW, one of the organisers. The hope is to get the backcountry buzzing with contacts, most of them operating QRP. New Zealand has more than 950 huts managed by the Department of Conservation. For locations to qualify in this programme, it should be a D.O.C. or club hut or a private back-country hut that is off the grid.

Matt said that the number of registered users has begun to grow and he is encouraged that its momentum will continue. Both hut activators and home-based chasers can qualify for points. Matt said this is an ongoing programme with no set dates for specific events. HOTA participants should just get out there with their radios and activate whenever the opportunity presents itself. For additional details visit the website hota dot qrp dot nz (hota.qrp.nz)


In this week's world of DX, Members of the Low Bands Contest Club based in the Czech Republic are using the call sign 5H4WZ from Pemba Island off the coast of Tanzania until the 18th of February. Be listening on all bands 160 -10m on CW, SSB, RTTY and FT8. QSL using Club Log OQRS.

Wolfgang DL5MAE will be on the air from Laos from the 13th to the 20th of February using the call sign 3W2MAE in his spare time. He advises hams to bear in mind that the location has heavy local QRM. Send QSLs using the German bureau.

Be listening for special event station 8A17BJR between February 19th and 21st. Hams in Indonesia are celebrating the 17th anniversary of the local ORARI Kota Banjar radio club. They'll be on 80, 40 and 2 metres using CW, SSB and the Digital modes. There are special certificates available. Visit their page on QRZ.com.

Be listening for Charles NK8O (En Kay Eight Oh) and Fred N8AX operating as 5H3DX and 5H3AX respectively from Tanzania between the 24th of February and the 21st of March. Maximum power in Tanzania is 100 watts but they will be using a variety of antennas, including some directional verticals. Listen for them on 160-10 meters where they will be operating holiday style. CW will be their primary mode but will occasionally use FT8, JS8-call and PSK-31. Send QSLs direct to NK8O (En Kay Eight Oh).


PAUL/ANCHOR: Finally, is anybody out there calling QRZ? We're talking about deep, deep, deep DX here - and we'll let Ralph Squillace KK6ITB explain just what we mean.

RALPH: If there are extraterrestrials out there, is it possible they have a band plan of their own? Scientists have been receiviing mystery radio signals from beyond our earthly environment for a long time now but a new report from British Columbia, Canada, has detected a pattern: these are fast radio bursts arriving precisely in 16.35-day cycles. They include 1 or 2 bursts per hour during a four-day period. Then they stop for 12 days, only to renew the pattern.

This pattern is no trivial matter to astronomers at the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst Project, or CHIME/FRB. No fast radio bursts previously recorded by scientists on Earth have adhered to quite so steady a pattern, if they had a pattern at all. In fact, most did not. These bursts, first detected in 2017, appear to be coming from a star-forming galaxy some 500 million lightyears from our solar system. Gamma-ray radiation telescopes are attempting to pin down their identity further.

An imaginative ham radio operator might have other ideas. Could this be a special event station adhering to a very strict extraterrestrial band plan and activating only at certain hours? A report in nature.com indicates the bursts have a central frequency of 1.7 GHz and a bandwidth of 128 MHz. So far, however, no hams have spotted anything on the DX Cluster. Keep listening.

VALENTINE'S DAY: Enjoy the day, pamper your better half. Can you imagine how much money we piss away buying flowers, chocolates, and silly cards. I consider it the cost of doing business, divorce is painful and expensive!  ....MARLBORO, MA HAMFEST is this Saturday and is usually pretty good as it is the first fleamarket of the year. It is a quick one- 9am to noon...Researchers Celebrate Pioneer's Work on World Radio Day....Ham Radio Fans Reach Out to the World from Labrador Lighthouse....

15-year-old fights the FAA anti-model flying NPRM with social media

The FAA has issued an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) that would effectively see the end of the traditional hobby of flying RC planes, helicopters and drones.

As well as mandating remote ID on store-bought products it would effectively (over time) outlaw scratch-built craft as well. This stands to have a hugely negative impact on those STEM/STEAM programs that have in the past used drones and RC planes as a teaching tool and a way of getting kids into electronics, engineering, and aerospace-related subjects.

Although many older folk have tried to rally public support for some pushback on these outrageous proposed new rules, a 15-year-old named Jack Thornton has outclassed everyone with his four-and-a-half-minute YouTube video.
Not only does he explain what's going on but he makes a fantastic case for the continuation of the hobby and even uses some of the tech to create the video.
I am seriously impressed by what this guy has done!


This weekend opens the 12th Edition of the 'WEEKEND OF THE AMERICAN LIGHTHOUSES' from Friday 14 to Sunday, February 16, 2020, with 86 light houses and beacons of 12 COUNTRIES.

At the present time there are 86 lighthouses and beacons from 12 countries: 28 from Argentina, 23 from Brazil, 1 from Costa Rica, 4 from Cuba, 12 from Chile, 3 from Guatemala, 4 from Mexico, 1 from Panama, 4 from Peru, 2 are registered from Puerto Rico, 1 from Uruguay and 3 from Venezuela.

On the cover of the RC GDXBB website http://www.grupodxbb.com.ar on the left is the online registration form and, on the right, the official list of participants.

For Puerto Rico, the Amateur Radio Alliance Inc. (ARA) will be activating Los Morrillos lighthouse in Cabo Rojo (PUR-002). This lighthouse is located on the final 301 road, Sector Llanos Costa. It was the second built in 1877 under Spanish domination. It took six years to complete its construction and was completed in 1882.

The Cabo Rojo Lighthouse is part of the Puerto Rico maritime lighting system and on October 22, 1981 it was included in the National Register of Historic Places of the Department of the Interior from United States. It was designed by Spanish engineers Manuel Maese, E. Gadea and M. Sainz. The staircase and the lighting system were imported from Europe. El Faro provided housing for two towers and their respective families. It consisted of a living room, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. All the original walls were built in brick and mortar. There are walls up to 44 "(inches) wide. (Tours are offered inside.).

Data of the Lighthouse and Puerto Rico:
ITU Zone 11
CQ Zone 8
GS FK67jw

10-80 meters
Echolink KP4ARA-R

To receive your certificate please confirm in QRZ.com, eqsl or directly to the email kp4ara@gmail.com


ARRL Podcasts Schedule

The second episode of ARRL’s On the Air podcast is now available. The topics focus on building the ground plane antenna featured in the first issue of On the Air magazine, a discussion of open-wire feed lines, and an interview with a relatively new public service volunteer. New On the Air podcast episodes are available monthly.

The first episode of the new Eclectic Tech podcast also is now available. The first episode  will include a discussion of amateur radio activity on the Qatar-OSCAR 100 satellite, an interview with Assistant ARRL Lab Manager Bob Allison, WB1GCM, about hand-held transceiver testing at Dayton Hamvention and other conventions, and an interview with Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, about propagation conditions.

ARRL Podcasts Schedule

The second episode of ARRL’s On the Air podcast is now available. The topics focus on building the ground plane antenna featured in the first issue of On the Air magazine, a discussion of open-wire feed lines, and an interview with a relatively new public service volunteer. New On the Air podcast episodes are available monthly.

The first episode of the new Eclectic Tech podcast also is now available. The first episode  will include a discussion of amateur radio activity on the Qatar-OSCAR 100 satellite, an interview with Assistant ARRL Lab Manager Bob Allison, WB1GCM, about hand-held transceiver testing at Dayton Hamvention and other conventions, and an interview with Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, about propagation conditions.

Amateur Radio Operating Procedures

Australia's communications regulator ACMA has made available an Amateur Radio Operating Procedures page

This page provides easy to understand guidance on different aspects of amateur operating, it covers:
• Emission modes and emissions
• Spurious emission limits for amateur stations
• Restrictions on connection to a public telecommunications network
• Call and reply
• Emergency procedures
• Operating signals
• Phonetic alphabet
• Testing and monitoring

Amateur Radio Operating Procedures

WRC-15 60m band now authorized in France

The French communications regulator ARCEP has finally authorized the use of the 5 MHz (60m) amateur radio band agreed by ITU at WRC-15

The formal announcement by ARCEP regarding Decision No. 2019-1412 was published in the Official Journal of the Republic of France (JORF) No 0037 published on February 13, 2020.

An English translation is available via the REF site using this link

French Government Official Journal  (JORF) site in English

THURSDAY EDITION: I am waking up to 1 inch of snow, overcast....and I don't have to plow. Rain is predicted and that should be the end of it all. I bought an Icom 718, new in the box which came from a silent key estate. It is a classic entry level radio that has been around for years, it works great and I hope to try it portable next week on a hill overlooking the main harbor and play a little cw....Things have been lively on 3928 late afternoons here in New England.  3919 is still hilarious at night, are these guys for real?....

NASA TV coverage of Cygnus launch to space station

Northrop Grumman’s next NASA resupply services mission to the International Space Station is targeted for launch at 3:43 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 14.

Live coverage of the launch and briefings will begin at 3:15 p.m., on NASA Television and the agency’s website

The company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission using its Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch on its Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

On Feb. 9, Northrop Grumman scrubbed its Antares launch after off-nominal readings from a ground support sensor. The Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft remain healthy.

Loaded with approximately 7,500 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware,  the Cygnus spacecraft, dubbed the SS Robert H. Lawrence, will arrive at the space station Sunday, Feb. 16 at about 5:11 a.m. 

NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan, KI5AAA will grapple Cygnus and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir  will be acting as a backup. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.

NASA TV coverage of the spacecraft’s arrival will begin at 2:30 a.m., and installation coverage will begin at 6 a.m.

The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to remain at the space station until May 11, when it will depart the orbiting laboratory. The Saffire-IV experiment will be conducted within Cygnus after it departs the station prior to deorbit. During its deorbit, it also will dispose of several tons of trash during a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere May 25.

Cargo resupply from U.S. companies ensures a national capability to deliver critical science research to the space station, significantly increasing NASA's ability to conduct new investigations at the only laboratory in space.

Learn more about the Northrop Grumman mission by going to the mission webpage at:


Successful 47 GHz Amateur Radio Moonbounce Test Reported

Mitsuo Kasai, JA1WQF, successfully decoded a 47 GHz signal bounced off the moon on February 10 by Al Ward, W5LUA. More tests are planned. Ward posted news of the achievement on the Moon-Net email reflector. “These were one-way tests, with only me transmitting,” he said in his post.

“I started out by sending single tones to Mitsuo, which he copied well, and then sent several sequences of calls and grid. Mitsuo was able to decode calls and my grid at 1146 UTC and 1234 UTC. Signal levels were –23 dB and –25 dB.” Ward noted that the first EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) contact on 47 GHz took place in early 2005.

“More 47 GHz tests are being run in the next few days with Manfred, DL7YC,” Ward said. “We hope for similar success.”

International Air Ambulance Week 2020

This year's International Air Ambulance Week will take place between 5th and 13th September with the focus on supporting and generating donations for flying medical services around the world.

The event covers two weekends, giving amateurs a great chance to get involved and support the event.

Whilst Amateur Radio Operators / Stations are encouraged to promote the donation causes, it is requested that any donations generated go to the station's chosen local or national cause.

Registration will be mandatory and all stations taking part will be issued a registration number which will be listed on this website.

The registered number needs to be quoted by each station regularly. Included in the list alongside each registered station will be a clickable link enabling those wishing to donate, to donate directly to the charity of the service they wish to support.

The event is primarily intended to help support public donation funded flying medical services, whether part or entirely donation funded, though not restricted entirely to those. The location of the special event station can be anywhere you choose to set it up – club, home or if you can manage the permissions to do it, a public place.

No costs will be involved in registering or taking part and a free series of Awards will be available for those who support the event as detailed below..

An award for having registered and taken part in the event.

A Bronze award for having logged a minimum of 5 IAW station.

A Silver award for having logged a minimum of 10 IAW station.

A Gold award for having logged a minimum of 15 IAW station.

Awards for SWL will follow the above requirements More than one award may claimed.

Claims for the awards will need to be made to the IAW’s Award Manager by de3ear@darc.de) including an excerpt from the log as proof of a valid claim.

The event’s date has been set to coincide with the UK’s own funding drive week for its own helicopter ambulance services. Almost all of these, around 30 in number, are entirely public donation funded.

The event is intended to commence on the fourth weekend of September annually and is to be run by the same team which operates the well established International Museum Event



Surfing the jet stream reduces aviation radiation

Last weekend, British Airways Flight 112 made headlines when it flew from New York to London in less than 5 hours, smashing the speed record for subsonic flight. It did it by surfing the jet stream.

The plane's early arrival had an unintended benefit: Passengers absorbed significantly fewer cosmic rays. Surfing the jet stream, it turns out, is a good way to manage aviation radiation.

Read the full story on Spaceweather.com.

WEDNESDAY EDITION: A nice sunny start to the day this morning, Valentine's Day is creeping up. TIP: This is a great time to smother your better half with a nice meal, candy, and a nice gift and a perfect time to buy yourself a new radio under the radar!...I heard quitre a few nice comments regarding the passing of John- K1BXI on 75 meters yesterday, RIP John....Strange Russian Spacecraft Shadowing U.S. Spy Satellite, General Says ......

ARRL Creates New HF Band Planning Discussion Group

ARRL has created a new HF Band Planning Discussion Group. HF Band Planning Committee Chair Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, will moderate the group, which will focus on the ARRL HF Band Planning Committee’s recommendations and other band-planning activities. Earlier this month, the ARRL HF Band Planning Committee invited comments and suggestions from the Amateur Radio community on its report  to the ARRL Board. At the Board’s January meeting, the committee presented its specific recommendations in graphical form for each HF band and each US license class, with the goal of increasing harmony on the HF bands, particularly between CW and digital users. Those responding to the initial call for comments and suggestions are encouraged to cross-post their remarks to the new HF Band Planning Discussion Group.

CubeSats Set for Deployment from the ISS

Several CubeSats are scheduled to be deployed from the ISS on February 12, including Phoenix, a 3U CubeSat developed by Arizona State University (ASU) to study the effects of urban heat islands through remote infrared sensing. The ASU operations team would appreciate help from the amateur satellite community with identifying the spacecraft and verifying that it is operational following its deployment at 0830 UTC.

Two CubeSats being deployed on February 12 — Phoenix and QARMAN — share the frequency of 437.35 MHz and utilize an AX.25 9,600-baud protocol with GMSK modulation. Because both CubeSats will be deployed within an hour and a half of each other, they will be close to each other in orbit. More information is available on the Phoenix website. — Thanks to Phoenix Project Manager Sarah Rogers, KI7OOY

Not an everyday find: German Archaeologists came across a Russian spy radio

Not an everyday find: Archaeologists from the Rhineland Regional Council were amazed when they came across a Russian spy radio instead of Roman traces in the Hambach open-cast mine during excavations. Hidden in a large metal box.

"When the box was opened, it hissed," Dr. Erich Claßen, head of the LVR Office for the Preservation of Archaeological Monuments in the Rhineland, told journalists. In the container: a Soviet radio type R-394KM, code name Strizh, a digital HF spy radio.

It was developed in the early 1980s in the Soviet Union (USSR) and used by the countries of the Warsaw Pact in the final phase of the Cold War. It was the last model before the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992.

Photo: Jürgen Vogel / LandesMuseum Bonn

The device has a digital news system and a digital frequency display. It was used by agents abroad as well as by special units and was available with Russian or English text on the front. The spy version is known by the Russian code name "Strizh" (English: Swift).

In the LVR-Landesmuseum in Bonn there is currently not only the mysterious radio to see. Under the title "Gods, Graves and Agents", spectacular finds from the year 2019 are on display until 29 March:


February 2020 Contests....you think we have enough?
+ Vermont QSO Party 0000Z, Feb 1 to 2400Z, Feb 2
+ 10-10 Int. Winter Contest, SSB 0001Z, Feb 1 to 2359Z, Feb 2
+ F9AA Cup, CW 1200Z, Feb 1 to 1200Z, Feb 2
+ Mexico RTTY International Contest 1200Z, Feb 1 to 2359Z, Feb 2
+ FYBO Winter QRP Sprint 1400Z-2400Z, Feb 1
+ Minnesota QSO Party 1400Z-2400Z, Feb 1
+ British Columbia QSO Party 1600Z, Feb 1 to 0359Z, Feb 2 and
  1600Z-2359Z, Feb 2
+ AGCW Straight Key Party 1600Z-1900Z, Feb 1
+ FISTS Winter Slow Speed Sprint 1700Z-2100Z, Feb 1
+ North American Sprint, CW 0000Z-0400Z, Feb 2
+ RSGB 80m Club Championship, SSB 2000Z-2130Z, Feb 3
+ ARS Spartan Sprint 0200Z-0400Z, Feb 4
+ QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Feb 5
+ Phone Fray 0230Z-0300Z, Feb 5
+ CWops Mini-CWT Test 1300Z-1400Z, Feb 5 and
  1900Z-2000Z, Feb 5 and
  0300Z-0400Z, Feb 6
+ UKEICC 80m Contest 2000Z-2100Z, Feb 5
+ NRAU 10m Activity Contest 1800Z-1900Z, Feb 6 (CW) and
  1900Z-2000Z, Feb 6 (SSB) and
  2000Z-2100Z, Feb 6 (FM) and
  2100Z-2200Z, Feb 6 (Dig)
+ SKCC Sprint Europe 2000Z-2200Z, Feb 6
+ NCCC RTTY Sprint 0145Z-0215Z, Feb 7
+ QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Feb 7
+ NCCC Sprint 0230Z-0300Z, Feb 7
+ CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest 0000Z, Feb 8 to 2359Z, Feb 9
+ SARL Field Day Contest 1000Z, Feb 8 to 1000Z, Feb 9
+ Asia-Pacific Spring Sprint, CW 1100Z-1300Z, Feb 8
+ Dutch PACC Contest 1200Z, Feb 8 to 1200Z, Feb 9
+ KCJ Topband Contest 1200Z, Feb 8 to 1200Z, Feb 9
+ SKCC Weekend Sprintathon 1200Z, Feb 8 to 2400Z, Feb 9
+ YLRL YL-OM Contest 1400Z, Feb 8 to 0200Z, Feb 10
+ OMISS QSO Party 1500Z, Feb 8 to 1500Z, Feb 9
+ FISTS Winter Unlimited Sprint 1700Z-2100Z, Feb 8
+ RSGB 1.8 MHz Contest 1900Z-2300Z, Feb 8
+ Balkan HF Contest 1300Z-1700Z, Feb 9
+ Classic Exchange, Phone 1400Z, Feb 9 to 0800Z, Feb 10 and
  1400Z, Feb 11 to 0800Z, Feb 12
+ 4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint 0100Z-0300Z, Feb 10
+ CQC Winter QSO Party 0100Z-0259Z, Feb 10
+ ARRL School Club Roundup 1300Z, Feb 10 to 2359Z, Feb 14
+ NAQCC CW Sprint 0130Z-0330Z, Feb 12
+ QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Feb 12
+ Phone Fray 0230Z-0300Z, Feb 12
+ CWops Mini-CWT Test 1300Z-1400Z, Feb 12 and
  1900Z-2000Z, Feb 12 and
  0300Z-0400Z, Feb 13
+ RSGB 80m Club Championship, Data 2000Z-2130Z, Feb 12
+ PODXS 070 Club Valentine Sprint 0000Z-2359Z, Feb 14
+ NCCC RTTY Sprint 0145Z-0215Z, Feb 14
+ QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Feb 14
+ NCCC Sprint 0230Z-0300Z, Feb 14
+ ARRL Inter. DX Contest, CW 0000Z, Feb 15 to 2400Z, Feb 16
+ Russian PSK WW Contest 1200Z, Feb 15 to 1159Z, Feb 16
+ Feld Hell Sprint 1900Z-2059Z, Feb 15
+ AWA Amplitude Modulation QSO Party 2300Z, Feb 15 to 2300Z, Feb 16
+ Run for the Bacon QRP Contest 0200Z-0400Z, Feb 17
+ QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Feb 19
+ Phone Fray 0230Z-0300Z, Feb 19
+ CWops Mini-CWT Test 1300Z-1400Z, Feb 19 and
  1900Z-2000Z, Feb 19 and
  0300Z-0400Z, Feb 20
+ AGCW Semi-Automatic Key Evening 1900Z-2030Z, Feb 19
+ NCCC RTTY Sprint 0145Z-0215Z, Feb 21
+ QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Feb 21
+ NCCC Sprint 0230Z-0300Z, Feb 21
+ CQ 160-Meter Contest, SSB 2200Z, Feb 21 to 2200Z, Feb 23
+ REF Contest, SSB 0600Z, Feb 22 to 1800Z, Feb 23
+ UK/EI DX Contest, CW 1200Z, Feb 22 to 1200Z, Feb 23
+ SARL Digital Contest 1400Z-1700Z, Feb 23
+ High Speed Club CW Contest 1500Z-1700Z, Feb 23
+ QCX Challenge 1300Z-1400Z, Feb 24 and
  1900Z-2000Z, Feb 24 and
  0300Z-0400Z, Feb 25
+ SKCC Sprint 0000Z-0200Z, Feb 26
+ QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Feb 26
+ Phone Fray 0230Z-0300Z, Feb 26
+ CWops Mini-CWT Test 1300Z-1400Z, Feb 26 and
  1900Z-2000Z, Feb 26 and
  0300Z-0400Z, Feb 27
+ UKEICC 80m Contest 2000Z-2100Z, Feb 26
+ RSGB 80m Club Championship, CW 2000Z-2130Z, Feb 27
+ NCCC RTTY Sprint 0145Z-0215Z, Feb 28
+ QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Feb 28
+ NCCC Sprint 0230Z-0300Z, Feb 28
+ Feld Hell Sprint 0000Z-2359Z, Feb 29
+ FTn DX Contest 1200Z, Feb 29 to 1200Z, Mar 1
+ UBA DX Contest, CW 1300Z, Feb 29 to 1300Z, Mar 1
+ South Carolina QSO Party 1500Z, Feb 29 to 0159Z, Mar 1
+ NA Collegiate Championship, RTTY 1800Z, Feb 29 to 0559Z, Mar 1
+ North American QSO Party, RTTY 1800Z, Feb 29 to 0559Z, Mar 1

TUESDAY EDITION: I have been informed by Cal that our longtime friend John- K1BXI has passed away. I talked to him on 75 meters not long ago, always pleasant and knowledgeable and willing to help out another ham. I always enjoyed talking and learning from John....especially about Linux, homebrewing, and his wealth of ham experiences. RIP John from all of us...

Email: It is with Great sadness that I report the passing of John Phillips K1BXI at home on Saturday.

He will surely be missed by all.

As was his wish and that of his wife Lee there will be no memorial service or funeral. He is to be cremated.

Per Lee and Holly's request it would be appreciated if we gave them this time to grieve privately.


ARRL Board of Directors Re-Elects President Rick Roderick, K5UR

Meeting January 17 – 18 in Windsor, Connecticut, the ARRL Board of Directors re-elected ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, to a third 2-year term. Roderick outpolled the only other nominee, Pacific Division Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, 8 – 7. New England Division Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, was elected First Vice President, succeeding Greg Widin, K0GW, who did not seek another term. Raisbeck was the sole nominee. A successor will be appointed to fill the Vice Director seat that Raisbeck has vacated. Bob Vallio, W6RGG, was re-elected as Second Vice President as the only nominee.

On a 9 – 6 vote, the Board voted not to re-elect Howard Michel, WB2ITX, as Chief Executive Officer. Michel was in the post for 15 months. Former ARRL Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer Barry Shelley, N1VXY, has come out of retirement to serve as interim ARRL CEO. He also was elected as Secretary. Shelley was ARRL’s CFO for 28 years and served as CEO during 2018 before his retirement, following the departure of former CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF. The ARRL Board has appointed a committee to spearhead the search for a new CEO. That panel will screen suitable CEO candidates, presenting three to the Board for consideration. 

Former ARRL President and IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD, was elected International Affairs Vice President, succeeding Jay Bellows, K0QB, who did not seek another term. Also re-elected by the Board were Treasurer Rick Niswander, K7GM, and Chief Financial Officer Diane Middleton, W2DLM.

Elected as members of the Executive Committee were Atlantic Division Director Tom Abernethy, W3TOM; Central Division Director Kermit Carlson, W9XA; Roanoke Division Director Bud Hippisley, W2RU; New England Division Director Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, and Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK. The Executive Committee addresses and makes decisions regarding ARRL business that may arise between scheduled Board meetings.

Hudson Division Director Ria Jairam, N2RJ, was elected as a member of the ARRL Foundation Board for a 3-year term. Tim Duffy, K3LR, and Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, were elected to the Foundation Board for 3-year terms as non-ARRL Board members.

Relief from Private Land-Use Restrictions

The Ad Hoc Legislative Advocacy Committee provided the Board with drafts outlining three legislative approaches to address relief for radio amateurs facing private land-use restrictions impacting outdoor antennas. The Board signed off on the draft legislative approaches “as presented and possibly modified” and directed the committee “to proceed to obtain congressional sponsorship, employing any of these three approaches and using its best judgment on any alterations or modifications that our advisors or sponsors may require or suggest.”

HF Band Planning

Outgoing chair of the HF Band Planning Committee Greg Widin, K0GW, presented the panel’s report and entertained questions. Board members noted that staff turnover and funding limitations at the FCC might impact ARRL’s efforts to tweak the bands. The Board agreed that ARRL would post the report and solicit comments from members on it.

Contests and Operating Awards

The Board approved raising the maximum number of contacts a Field Day GOTA station can make to 1,000. It amended the ARRL RTTY Roundup rules to add Multi-Two and Multi-Multi categories and to permit multioperator stations to operate for the entire contest period, and it divided entry categories into RTTY only, Digital only (i.e., no RTTY), and Mixed (both RTTY and digital).

Matt Holden, K0BBC, presented the DX Advisory Committee report, telling the Board that the panel engaged in extensive discussion on a proposal to change the 5-Band DXCC award from the current required bands to offer credit for any five bands. The committee unanimously rejected the proposal.

ARRL Elections

The Board revised rules governing ARRL Division and Section Manager elections to clarify some terminology, to extend the campaign period from the call for nominations to the deadline for ballots received, and to make other miscellaneous changes. Revisions will become effective by February 15, 2020.

In the interest of “openness and fairness,” the Board also approved a measure that would offers candidates and members an opportunity to be present during the counting of ballots. Candidates also may designate one ARRL member to attend as a surrogate if they’re unable to observe ballot counting, or to accompany them at the count. The Board further approved an amendment to permit ARRL members, upon petition, to travel at their own expense to witness the counting of ballots from their Division.

The Board charged the Programs and Services Committee to consider changes to the ARRL By-Laws that would give members, upon petition, the opportunity to attend the public portion of the Annual Meeting in January. The number of members permitted to attend would be subject to available space and fire code regulations.

Public Service Enhancement Working Group Chair, Roanoke Division Director Bud Hippisley, W2RU, reported that with field adoption of the 2019 ARES Plan now under way, the group is putting increased focus on the National Traffic System, including plans for dialog with representatives of Radio Relay International.

Reduced Dues for Younger Applicants

The Board approved an amendment giving the CEO discretion to raise the eligibility age for reduced full ARRL membership dues from 22 to 26, provided the rate not be less than one-half of the established rate. In addition, the Board approved the establishment of a reduced-rate, revenue-neutral Life Membership for individuals age 70 or older, with cumulative annual membership of 25 years or more, at an initial rate of $750. Headquarters staff will work out the administrative details of the program, subject to approval of the Administration and Finance Committee.

The Board also agreed to allow for a “digital-only” access membership, at the discretion of the CEO, discounted no more than 10% from the established dues rate.

Other Business

In other business, the Board: 

  • approved a grant of $500 to the Youth on the Air (YOTA) in the Americas program, which is sponsoring a camp in June for young radio amateurs. Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, a former ARRL Youth Coordinator, is heading the initiative, which is funded through the non-profit Electronic Applications Radio Service Inc. 
  • authorized creation of an Emergency Management Director Selection Committee, with its chair and members to be named by the president. 

French look at 3-Tier CEPT ham radio structure and use of surrender flag if you flunk the test

One of the French national amateur radio societies URC has expressed its desire for a 3 licence class structure as described in CEPT recommendations rather the the single class available at the present time

A translation of the Union of Radio Clubs (URC) 2020 Editorial reads:

The URC has its objectives among which that of respecting the CEPT recommendations and of creating 3 license classes in France. We have made proposals on how we see how we can do it, this part is to be discussed with all the associations and the administration but the consensus is that licenses and exams must be changed in France. So I have a lot of hope in this consortium that is GIAR.

I hope that all the associations which want to advance radio amateurism, we will join, that they will clearly display their membership of the GIAR consortium and that the page of the past will be definitively turned.

Once the GIAR consortium has been formed, we will set up the thematic groups that we have identified and we will all work together:

• Community facilities (Relays - Beacons - Networks). this group will have to establish how community facilities can be managed in partnership with the ANFR. We note that the ANFR manages the frequencies, it does nothing more than simply check whether the installation transmits in the amateur radio bands. We, as a radio amateur, need more details because we are masters of what is going on inside our bands. We will have to establish rules for the coexistence of community facilities which will then have to be applied in collaboration with the ANFR.

• Training and exams: within the framework of the establishment of 3 license classes, this group will have to work on training, how to integrate this training in individual training, in national education and how can we reform the passage of exams.

• French regulations: since 2012 the decree has had problems and shells, we have been promised reform of the decree for 8 years, let's work on the subject and give radio amateurs the means to develop by correcting and developing the decree.

• Communication and promotion, by contributing to the reform of examinations, the evolution of our rights, let us persevere and enlarge the family of radio amateurs. Let us join forces to promote our activity.

If your national association wants to join the GIAR consortium, you can contact us, if people belonging or not to a national association wish to reinforce the technical groups, that they also contact us, together apart from all past controversies, make things happen.

Bletchley Park: Build a Radio Receiver

Bletchley Park is hosting another workshop with the RSGB on March 14 where you can build your own radio receiver

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) invites young people (and an accompanying adult if the child is under 16 years) to join them at the National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park for a fun and hands-on workshop where they can learn more about radio and electronics.

The workshop offers a short introduction to wireless communications, radio propagation and electronic construction, before moving on to the construction of a medium wave radio receiver. This will include using a printed circuit board, selecting components, soldering them in place and testing the circuit. Attendees will also be able to visit the National Radio Centre to learn more about the history of radio communications and to see a modern amateur radio station in operation.

Full details are at

Secret role of Beaumanor Hall

The Leicester Mercury reports on the top secret wartime listening station role of a Leicestershire mansion

As we approach the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May, a Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteer (LLLSV) tells the fascinating story of Beaumanor Hall’s crucial role in the Second World War.

Many readers may not know, but Beaumanor Hall was the site of a vital wartime intelligence service, namely the War Office “Y” (wireless) Group or W.O.Y.G.

The top secret “Y” Group was part of M18 Wireless Intelligence and Beaumanor was a highly-strategic “Intercept Station”, concerned with monitoring the enemy’s main channels of wireless traffic and communications.

The “Y” Intercept Listening Service operated from 1941 to 1945 and its wartime activities were as top secret as those at the Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park.

Read the full story at

Radio Caroline North - February

Radio Caroline North returns to our radio ship Ross Revenge for the second live broadcast of 2020.

Join us on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th February for all the best music from the 60s – early 90s, plus the chance to win a subscription to  The Beat magazine.

We're LIVE from the River Blackwater from 10.30 am on Saturday. Listen in on 648 AM in the South and South-East, on 1368 AM in the North and North-West courtesy of our friends at Manx Radio, around the world online via the Radio Caroline app and Radio Player, and on smart speakers.

We'd love to hear from you – email us during the broadcast at  memories@radiocaroline.co.uk and remember, it's the only address that gets you straight through to us directly onboard.


MONDAY EDITION: ..Fricken wind again, 50 mph gusts, sometimes being surrounded by the ocean isn't fun.....Marines and ham radio.....Where the hell are we headed? A degree in smoking dope.....So you want to work for Amazon?....

M1CJE - SOTA Mountain Goat

Congratulations to Andrew Eastland, M1CJE, who has achieved the accolade of SOTA Mountain Goat.  This is the principal award in the Summits on the Air scheme, and marks passing through 1000 activator points.

Andrew (pictured on the right of the photo), who is based in Marlborough, Wiltshire, reached his MG status with an activation of Black Mountain GW/SW-041 in January 2020.

He started his SOTA journey on Pen y Fan GW/SW-001 in September 2017, and so has reached Mountain Goat status in less than two-and-a-half years, which is relatively rapid!

For more information about activating, chasing or SWLing in the SOTA programme, please visit http://www.sota.org.uk 

Ham College 61 - Extra Class Begins

Are you ready for Amateur Extra? Our 1st Extra Class episode. What's on the exam?

Solar Orbiter launch takes solar science to new heights

Solar Orbiter, a new collaborative mission between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA to study the Sun, launched at 11:03 p.m. EST Sunday on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

At 12:24 a.m. Monday, mission controllers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, received a signal from the spacecraft indicating that its solar panels had successfully deployed.

In the first two days after launch, Solar Orbiter will deploy its instrument boom and several antennas that will communicate with Earth and gather scientific data.

Solar Orbiter is on a unique trajectory that will allow its comprehensive set of instruments to provide humanity with the first-ever images of the Sun's poles. This trajectory includes 22 close approaches to the Sun, bringing the spacecraft within the orbit of Mercury to study the Sun and its influence on space.

“As humans, we have always been familiar with the importance of the Sun to life on Earth, observing it and investigating how it works in detail, but we have also long known it has the potential to disrupt everyday life should we be in the firing line of a powerful solar storm,” said Günther Hasinger, ESA director of Science. “By the end of our Solar Orbiter mission, we will know more about the hidden force responsible for the Sun’s changing behavior and its influence on our home p

A previous ESA-NASA mission, Ulysses, launched in 1990, achieved an inclined orbit giving scientists their first measurements of the space around the Sun in this critical region. Unlike Ulysses, So

lanet than ever before."

Solar Orbiter will spend about three months in its commissioning phase, during which the mission team will run checks on the spacecraft's 10 scientific instruments to ensure they are working properly. It will take Solar Orbiter about two years to reach its primary science orbit.

Solar Orbiter combines two main modes of study. In-situ instruments will measure the environment around the spacecraft, detecting such things as electric and magnetic fields and passing particles and waves. The remote-sensing instruments will image the Sun from afar, along with its atmosphere and its outflow of material, collecting data that will help scientists understand the Sun's inner workings.

During the mission's cruise phase, which lasts until November 2021, the spacecraft's in-situ instruments will gather scientific data about the environment around the spacecraft, while the remote-sensing telescopes will focus on calibration to prepare for science operations near the Sun. The cruise phase includes three gravity assists that Solar Orbiter will use to draw its orbit closer to the Sun: two past Venus in December 2020 and August 2021, and one past Earth in November 2021.

Following its Earth gravity assist, Solar Orbiter will begin the primary phase of its mission – leading up to its first close pass by the Sun in 2022 – at about a third the distance from the Sun to Earth. Throughout its mission, Solar Orbiter will use successive Venus gravity assists to draw its orbit closer to the Sun and lift it out of the ecliptic plane.

Solar Orbiter’s unique orbit will bring the spacecraft out of the plane that roughly aligns with the Sun's equator where Earth and the other planets orbit. Spacecraft launched from Earth naturally stay in this plane, which means that telescopes on Earth and telescopes on satellites have limited views of the Sun's north and south poles.

lar Orbiter carries cameras that will provide the first-ever images of the Sun's poles. This vital information will help scientists fill in the gaps in models of the Sun's magnetic field, which drives the Sun's activity.

"Solar Orbiter is going to do amazing things. Combined with the other recently launched NASA missions to study the Sun, we are gaining unprecedented new knowledge about our star," said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for Science at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “Together with our European partners, we’re entering a new era of heliophysics that will transform the study of the Sun and help make astronauts safer as they travel on Artemis program missions to the Moon."

ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands manages the development effort. The European Space Operations Center in Germany will operate Solar Orbiter after launch. Solar Orbiter was built by Airbus Defense and Space. The spacecraft contains 10 instruments. Nine were provided by ESA member states and ESA. NASA provided one instrument, the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI), and an additional sensor, the Heavy Ion Sensor, which is part of the Solar Wind Analyzer instrument suite.

Solar Orbiter complements a fleet of NASA Heliophysics spacecraft observing the star we live with and its effects on the space we travel through.

Learn more about Solar Orbiter at:

VI250, Australian Special Event

Members of the Cairns Amateur Radio Club (Cairns, Far North Queensland) will activate the special event call-sign VI250COOK between May 1st and August 31st.

Activity is to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook sailing up the east coast of Australia from what is now Sydney to what is now Cooktown in Far North Queensland. This historic trip is being replicated by the Australian Maritime Museum's replica of his ship, the Endeavour

They will be sharing availability of this distinctive callsign with various other Australian amateur radio clubs as the Endeavour calls into their cities or passes by on its voyage, culminating with the Cairns Amateur Radio Club operating from both Cairns and Cooktown.

For more details and a published on-air schedule (once confirmed), see QRZ.com.

St. Pierre and Miquelon

Operators Chris/VO1IDX (Co-Teamleader), Jim/WB2REM (Co-Teamleader), Chris/VO1CH (TO5T-License Holder), Mike/W0VTT, Woody/WW1WW and Steve/W4SJT will be active as TO5T from the island of Ile Aux Marins (NA-032) between August 10-17th.

Activity will be on 160-6 meters (including 60m) using CW, SSB and FT8 (F/H).

Suggested frequencies are available on QRZ.com or via their Web page at: http://www.to5t.com

QSL via WB2REM, direct, ClubLog's OQRS (direct or by the Bureau) or LoTW.

Indonesian special event

Look for special event station 8A17BJR between February 19-21st.
Activity is to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the local ORARI Kota Banjar radio club.

Operations will be on 80/40/2 meters using CW, SSB and the Digital modes. Special certificates are available, see: https://orarilokalkotabanjar.design.blog/download

QSL via details on QRZ.com.

Turn the bands Green for St Patricks Day

Once again St Patricks Day is nearly upon us.
We are asking all amateurs to join in on the air and help turn the bands green for the St Patrick Day Award.

This annual award runs over 48hrs from 12noon, 16th March. till 12noon on the 18th March.

Stations worldwide will be on air for the celebrations and we hope that you can sit back, relax and help turn those bands green for St Patrick's Day.

If you wish to register or just find out more then simply go to https://stpatrickaward.webs.com/

So why not join us and go green for the 17th March

WEEKEND EDITION: Sunny and cold. another night of 70 mph gusts here on the rock....Listen to the new episode of ARRL Audio News on your iOS or Android podcast app, or online at http://www.blubrry.com/arrlaudionews/. Audio News is also retransmitted on a number of FM repeaters. Click here and then scroll down to see the list......Whose brilliant idea was it to pull the radios out of the Titanic grave site?....Facial bias in action......We are heading to a cashless society....The freaking dumbing down of USA, kids can't parallel park so the drop they requiment. Kind of like us dropping the swimming requiment for police and fireman because minorities could not swim in MA...

Foundations of Amateur Radio

How I care for my connectors

If you've ever found yourself in the position of attempting to screw a PL259 into an SO239, or an N-type plug into an N-type socket you'll have likely come across the situation where the thread doesn't quite fit. If it does, you might have issues attempting to undo the connection, even if you didn't particularly do anything strenuous in relation to mating the two in the first place.

This kind of situation happens to me more than I think is reasonable.
It happens on cheap connectors, on expensive ones, on the back of radio gear, on adaptors, patch leads and the like.

Initially I put this down to cheap vs. expensive, but that really doesn't add up if you're attempting to connect an expensive plug into an expensive radio.

If you're into machining you'll know about swarf. If not, think metallic dust. Of course it doesn't have to be metallic, it could be a single grain of sand, or it could be a slightly damaged thread.

A couple of months ago I went on the hunt for a tap and die set that would solve this issue once and for all. If you're not familiar with the terms, a tap is like a long bolt with a square head and a die is like a thick washer with holes cut out.

In addition to being hardened, they each have cutting edges, which allows these two tools to do their job, the job of cutting threads.

Normally you'd use a tap to make a thread into a hole that you've drilled. You'd use a die to make a thread onto a rod that you have. There's lots of technique associated with this, cutting fluids, alignment, pressure and the like. Plenty of relaxing YouTube videos around - which is how I came upon this idea in the first place.

You can also use a tap or a die to cut across an existing thread and you can do this with connectors.

A die, threaded over a socket, will clean up the socket threads. Similarly a tap screwed into a plug will clean up the plug thread. There's a disclaimer coming for that last point, but stick around.

Trying to find a tap and die to match can be a challenge. The PL259, SO239 and N-type connectors are all 5/8th size threads. They're 24 turns per inch, and also known as UNEF (Uniform November Echo Foxtrot) threads, or Unified Extra Fine.

So if you start on your hunt, you'll be looking for 5/8th, 24 TPI, UNEF taps and dies.

I found mine online at $15 or so from a US supplier. Got to me in about a week.

When they arrived I immediately set about cleaning up all my sockets. This was amazing, all of a sudden stuff started fitting well. Unfortunately I couldn't use the tap. The centre hole in a standard tap isn't big enough for the pin of a PL259, let alone an N-type connector, but a friend of a friend has access to machine tools and made the centre hole bigger. Word of warning, this is hardened steel. A hand-drill won't cut it.

I must mention that this won't allow you to use the tap inside an N-type plug, but you can use a die on the socket.

I'll also point out that if you need to use a tap wrench or a die holder, you're doing it wrong. We're cleaning up the thread, not making a new one. If you need extra force the most likely scenario is that you've cross threaded the tool onto the connector.

Of course if you've got a completely stuffed connector thread, then these tools can help, but you might want to consider replacing the connector.

My tap and die live in my go-kit right next to the coax adaptors. On my next field-day I won't be having to deal with poor connections, nor will I have to worry about unscrewing them after the event.

A tap and die, great simple tools to fix a recurring issue.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB

The Galileo GNSS constellation and 1296 EME operation

Bob Atkins KA1GT has documented his recent observations of interference to 1296 EME from the Galileo navigation satellites' E6 mode

Bob writes:

"Over a number of months I noticed times when I saw a rise and fall in background noise over periods of 10-20 minutes. The noise level might go up by as much as 3dB. At first I assumed that it was just antenna sidelobes picking up some local broadband noise source, or pointing at trees or other structures and I was seeing ambient temperature thermal noise. However, if I noted the AZ and EL of the antennas when I saw the noise and went back later to look for the noise, it was gone."

"After thinking about this for a while, asking questions on Moon-net and doing some tracking of the noise signal, it gradually became apparent that the noise source was space based and wasn't cosmic. It appeared to be due to a satellite (or satellites) in relatively high orbit. The time for the noise to rise and fall (10-20 minutes) couldn't be from an LEO (Low Earth orbit) satellite, nor could it be from a geostationary satellite. Its motion was consistent with something in an orbit about 25000km high. That's an MEO and the sort of orbit GPS satellites use. Galileo navigation satellites use are also in MEO (medium earth orbit)."

Read Bob's article at

2006 article by Peter Blair G3LTF
Potential Interference To Galileo From 23cm Band Operations

Amateur radio can connect you with the world

Home Town Focus interviews Roger Kochevar K0HGN about his hobby of the past 63 years - Amateur Radio

It seems like only yesterday when I went to the mailbox on that sunny October day in 1956 and found a letter addressed to me from the Federal Communications Commission. Could it be the long-awaited amateur radio license? Yes, it was the license with call letters KNØHGN printed at the top!

The license allowed me, an eighth-grader, to operate a station to communicate by transmitting radio waves under FCC amateur rules. It was a ticket to a fascinating hobby based on the use of radio spectrum by private ham operators.

Over 63 years have passed, and I still enjoy the hobby as much as ever.
By the numbers, ham radio is still popular. In 1956, there were about 140,000 hams in the United States; now there are 763,000.

What motivated young kids in 1956 to learn Morse code, radio theory, and set up a ham radio station? Many of us were fascinated with the radio waves that we could generate with simple apparatus, often built from parts salvaged from old radios. Magical electromagnetic waves emitted from our antennas traveled at the speed of light and could achieve great distances by skipping through the atmosphere. The waves allowed us to communicate with someone in a neighboring town or, if skip conditions were right, someone on the other side of the world, such as New Zealand!

Read the full story at

New England Hams you might run across 75 meters.........

K1TP- Jon....Editor of As The World Turns....
KB1OWO- Larry...
Handsome Fellow ,Only cuts lawn in August, plows snow the rest in Jackman, Maine
W1GEK- Big Mike....Nearfest Cook, big motor home, electronics software engineer ...
AA1SB- Neil...Living large traveling the country with his girlfriend...loves CW
N1YX- Igor....peddles quality Russian keys, software engineer
K1BGH...Art.....Restores cars and radio gear, nice fella...
N1XW.....Mike-easy going, Harley riding kind of guy!
K1JEK-Joe...Easy going, can be found at most ham flea market ...Cobra Antenna builder..
KA1GJU- Kriss- Tower climbing pilot who cooks on the side at Hosstrader's...
W1GWU-Bob....one of the Hosstrader's original organizers, 75 meter regular, Tech Wizard!!!
K1PV- Roger....75 meter regular, easy going guy...
W1XER...Scott....easy going guy, loves to split cordwood and hunt...
WS1D- Warren- "Windy" - Bullnet
KB1VX- Barry- the picture says it all, he loves food!
KC1BBU- Bob....the Mud Duck from the Cape Cod Canal, making a lot of noise.
W1STS- Scott...philosopher, hat connoisseur,
KB1JXU- Matthew...75 meter regular...our token liberal Democrat out of VT

KA1BXB-Don....75 meter Regular......residing on the Cape of Cod, flying planes and playing radio
KMIG-Rick....75 Meter Regular....teaches the future of mankind, it's scary!
K1PEK-Steve..Founder of Davis-RF....my best friend from high school 

K9AEN-John...Easy going ham found at all the ham fests
K1BQT.....Rick....very talented ham, loves his politics, has designed gear for MFJ...
W1KQ- Jim-  Retired
Air Force Controller...told quite a few pilots where to go!
N1OOL-Jeff- The 3936 master plumber and ragchewer...
K1BRS-Bruce- Computer Tech of 3936...multi talented kidney stone passing ham...
K1BGH- Arthur, Cape Cod, construction company/ice cream shop, hard working man....
W1VAK- Ed, Cape Cod, lots of experience in all areas, once was a Jacques Cousteus body guard....
K1BNH- Bill- Used to work for a bottled gas company-we think he has been around nitrous oxide to long .

Silent Key K1BXI- John.........Dr. Linux....fine amateur radio op ....wealth of experience...
Silent Key
VA2GJB- Graham...one of the good 14313 guys back in the day.
Silent Key K1BHV- David...PITA
Silent Key W1JSH- Mort...Air Force man
Silent Key K1MAN--Glen....PITA
Silent KeyKB1CJG-"Cobby"- Low key gent can be found on many of the 75 meter nets.........
Silent KeyWB1AAZ- Mike, Antrim, NH, auto parts truck driver-retired

Silent KeyWB1DVD- Gil....Gilly..Gilmore.....easy going, computer parts selling, New England Ham..
Silent Key W1OKQ- Jack....3936 Wheeling and Dealing......keeping the boys on there toes....
Silent Key W1TCS- Terry....75 meter regular, wealth of electronic knowledge...
Silent Key WIPNR- Mack....DXCC Master, worked them all!.. 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key
WILIM- Hu....SK at 92... 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key N1SIE- Dave....Loves to fly
Silent Key:
N1WBD- Big Bob- Tallest ham, at 6'10", of the 3864 group
Silent Key: W1FSK-Steve....Navy Pilot, HRO Salesman, has owned every radio ever built!
Silent Key: W4NTI-Vietnam Dan....far from easy going cw and ssb op on 14275/313
Silent Key:K1FUB-Bill- Loved ham radio....